That giant slurping sound on Friday was Silicon Valley Bank imploding. America’s 16th-largest bank had some $175 billion in deposits and disappeared by breakfast. It wouldn’t have happened if not for management mistakes. This was a 21st-century bank run—customers tried to withdraw about $42 billion, a quarter of all deposits. But what triggered the collapse?
Let’s go back. In January 2020, SVB had $55 billion in customer deposits on its balance sheet. By the end of 2022, that number exploded to $186 billion. Yes, SVB was a victim of its own success. These deposits were often from initial public offerings and SPAC deals—SVB banked almost half of all IPO proceeds in the last two years. Most startups had relationships with the bank.